Social Question

Trillian's avatar

What about "sayings" that make no sense whatsoever?

Asked by Trillian (21106points) February 18th, 2010

I started thinking about this from another thread. There are some sayings that people either use incorrectly, like; “No rest for the weary” (it’s wicked, not weary). Then there are sayings that are simply complete and utter nonsense like; “She wants to have her cake and eat it too!” This makes no sense. Of course I want to eat my cake! Idiot! That’s why I have it! Otherwise what would be the point? And if I don’t have it, I can’t eat it! Eating it requires that I first have it!
There must be bunches of these pointless sayings out there that rub others the wrong way, or that people say incorrectly without thinking about it first. Do you know any? Or is it just me?

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67 Answers

ucme's avatar

When asking for a round of applause saying, “put your hands together”.Don’t we have to open them several times in order to make a clapping sound?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

“I make a great meatloaf!” is complete bullshit.No one does ;)

john65pennington's avatar

You can’t judge a book by looking at its cover.
What goes around come around.
You don’t miss you water till the well runs dry.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Who put the bomp in the bomp sha bomp sha bomp?

AstroChuck's avatar

Look before you leap.
He who hesitates is lost.

Well, which is it?

talljasperman's avatar

I have to de-thaw my food in the mircowave

bhec10's avatar

“I’m so hungry I could ride a horse” – Chris Griffin

Vunessuh's avatar

Friends are like potatoes, if you eat them, they die. No sense whatsoever.

@lucillelucillelucille LMAO.—But I do Lucille, I really, really do.

Shecky_Johnson's avatar

@talljasperman My best friend says this all the time. I just say “It already is de-thawed.”

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Blackberry- :)
@Vunessuh-Oh,Baloney!You hate meatcake and wolfburgers!

mrentropy's avatar

@Trillian One of the local weight loss programs in New York were going to go on a group road trip to a dude ranch in Texas. When they loaded everyone on the bus, though, the tires blew out and they couldn’t go anywhere. The moral? There is no west for the reary.

Sure, it’s insensitive but it fits the bill.

@lucillelucillelucille I’ve had people who swore they hated meatloaf take seconds on mine. After I started making it with a layer of creamed spinach inside it’s been most requested in my household.

Buttonstc's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction.

This is a nonsense phrase pure and simple. It tries to sound profound and utterly fails.

gailcalled's avatar

@Buttonstc beat me to it.

Why do fools fall in love?

edit: I find the promiscuous use of lol to have no meaning and contribute nothing to a quip. Ditto for the typographical emoticons and hysterical uses of ! and .

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@mrentropy -Guess what I have to say about that…<grins from ear to ear> ;)))))

Trillian's avatar

@Buttonstc I so agree. Every time I see it I laugh at the sheer pretentiousness of it. I’ve seen it at the beginning of a statement, as if its being there lends weight, credence, or validity to it. It sounds like a person with a low IQ trying to sound intelligent, failing, and being the only one who doesn’t know it.

Just_Justine's avatar

What comes around goes around – ????

phoenyx's avatar

You can’t compare apples to oranges? I’m going to compare apple to oranges right now:

They have some similarities. Both apples and oranges are fruit that grow on trees. Both fruits originated in Asia. An apple has about the same amount of zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B6, and vitamin E as an orange. They are roughly the same size.

They have some differences. Oranges are more acidic. Oranges have more vitamin C and vitamin A. Apples are crunchier. Apples come in a variety of colors.

zephyr826's avatar

It is what it is. grrr…stupid phrase…

stump's avatar

“I could care less” People use this to mean the exact opposite of what they are saying.

Trillian's avatar

Oh god, I’ve heard people say, I did a 360 and did the complete opposite. We all know that one would need to do a 180.

Cruiser's avatar

Anything out of the mouth of Joe Biden…

CMaz's avatar

What are you talking about?

They all make good sense. If you make an effort to understand them. :-)

LunaChick's avatar

I was just thinking about this last night and even posted one such saying onto a blog, along with a doodle of what I think of, when I hear the saying ‘Go fly a kite!’

CMaz's avatar

”“I make a great meatloaf!””

I do! It is the best!

mrentropy's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Something good? :) I’ll have to invite you over for dinner some time. With a back up meal, of course.

janbb's avatar

“She want s to eat her cake and have it too” is the way that saying makes sense.

DominicX's avatar

I mention this one all the time, but: “the proof is in the pudding”.

I almost can’t write it with a straight face. It means nothing. The original phrase was “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, which of course makes much more sense meaning that you can’t fully judge something until you’ve tried it. However, “the proof is in the pudding” is not really considered a real saying as much as it’s just a mistaken version of the original.

The cake one might not be perfect, but I get what it’s saying. Maybe there’s a better alternative to it that uses another metaphor.


Those make sense to me, especially the one about the well and water. I don’t think I’ve found a more true saying. One often doesn’t realize how valuable something was until it’s gone. One takes things for granted; it’s a very true saying.

Trillian's avatar

@DominicX Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The proof of the pudding is under the crust!

Val123's avatar

What goes around comes around is a good saying! It means whatever you send out will come back to you one way or another, whether it’s good or bad.

And I make the best meatloaf EVER.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

It ain’t over till it’s over.—Yogi Berra

As an aside, I also hate it when I hear people say, “Lead on, Macduff!” The original quote was ”Lay on, Macduff, and damn’d be him that first cries, Hold, enough!”

gailcalled's avatar

“I’m going to give this 150% percent.”

rangerr's avatar

@gailcalled What? You don’t like overachievers? That sounds a bit absurd to me.

Val123's avatar

@rangerr It’s an impossibility is what she’s saying.

YARNLADY's avatar

You can do anything you want if you just put your mind to it.

mattbrowne's avatar

Pregnant goldfish are called twits, right?

Val123's avatar

A man’s home is his castle.
No it’s not. It’s mine.
@mattbrowne All this time Nina has been calling me a pregnant goldfish????? I’m not pregnant!

filmfann's avatar

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Beware Greeks bearing gifts.

Well, which is it? (to quote the great AstroChuck)

gailcalled's avatar

@filmfann: I believe that both saws are from the same story of the Trojan Horse. The huge wooden horse was stuffed with Greek warriors, unbeknown to the soldiers holding Troy. The horse was wheeled into the city (which was under siege by the Greeks) and—-kaboom—.

So, it’s both, to quote the great Milo.

filmfann's avatar

@gailcalled That was my point! If the Trojans had looked the gift horse in the mouth, they would have seen the danger!

gailcalled's avatar

@filmfann: I wasn’t there so can’t be sure, but I don’t think the adages sprang into being until after the event.

YoH's avatar

Who tied a pup? My grandfather used to say it when he was frustrated with some task. It makes no sense.

Jeruba's avatar

If you want to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.
—That doesn’t mean it’s ok to hurt people in order to achieve a goal.

If you’re not growing, you’re dying.
— Bigger is not necessarily better.

You have to fight fire with fire.
— I use water myself.

All things come to those who wait.
—They don’t, and that is not what the Bible verse says.

Great minds think alike.
— In my experience, great minds think differently. It’s the weak minds that think alike.

Ignorance is bliss.
— The expression is qualified: ”Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.” Explained here.

stemnyjones's avatar

My grandma always throws in some random ending to her sentences, including a name of someone we don’t know that rhymes with the last word of the sentence. For instance:

Get ready, Freddy!
Go to bed, Fred!
Eat your food, Jude!

stratman37's avatar

@stump basterdizing “couldn’t care less” gets on my nerves. I’ve even seen it in print and in song lyrics.

My dad used to say (to make light of a bad situation) “beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!”

Trillian's avatar

@stratman37 My dad used to say “It’s better than a kick in the teeth.”

stratman37's avatar

@Trillian I’ve heard that one as describing a bad situation: “What? They fired you for no reason? Well, ain’t that a kick in the teeth?”

gailcalled's avatar

Still waters run deep.
A stagnant pond breeds mosquitoes.
He walks on water.
Water seeks its own level.

mrentropy's avatar

@gailcalled 2 & 4 I can go with.
In the case of “Still waters run deep,” though, I have to say that still waters don’t run at all.

Val123's avatar

@mrentropy I want to insert “LOL!” here, but in deference to @gailcalled I won’t. I’ll just say….um. HA HA!!!

gailcalled's avatar

Funny that you liked number 2. I just made it up. And these are supposed to be non-sensical or contradictory adages: re; running still waters.

Val123's avatar

@gailcalled You may have made it up but it IS a fact!

gailcalled's avatar

I know. But it negated silly #1.

Val123's avatar

@gailcalled HA HA!! :)

OK. “The silence can be like thunder in your ear.”

mrentropy's avatar

@gailcalled My apologies, I thought I was on the other thread about sayings.

In that case, #2 is perfectly true. #4 is also true. #3 can be true if the person is Jesus, a practitioner of Sinanju, very very small, or the water is frozen.

gailcalled's avatar

@mrentropy: Jesus and Moses and their adoring fan clubs gather at the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Moses walks out a ways on the surface of the water and then returns. All the Jews cheer.

Jesus tries it and sinks up to his neck. Moses hisses at him, ”Goyishe kop, walk on the stones.”

mrentropy's avatar

@gailcalled I’m gonna add that to the rotation :)

Buttonstc's avatar


Not to be overly picky, but fight fire with fire does make sense within certain situations.

Context is everything in this case. It obviously doesn’t work for a small grease fire in one’s own kitchen.

However, I’ve seen documentaries about “smoke jumpers” who parachute into areas where there are raging wildfires threatening to destroy towns or homes in their path.

In something of this magnitude, water does little good because they just can’t transport enough of it in to make it effective.

However, there is a technique employed whereby they set up a controlled burn line in anticipation of the encroaching out of control wildfire.

They set up a controlled area which they burn prior to the larger fires arrival. This then deprives the larger fire of any more fuel and stops it there.

Thus, they have literally fought fire with fire. I believe that’s the origin of the phrase and if one is knowledgeable about the technique, can be lifesaving if out in the wild.

In one’s own kitchen however, smothering it with salt or a good fire extinguisher is the way to go. If it’s a grease fire, water just spreads it.


Trillian's avatar

@gailcalled not only do I walk on water at times, I also attach an outboard motor to my ass!

Jeruba's avatar

@Buttonstc, I know about firebreaks and controlled burns. In those cases, however, is it not the space (the gap without fuel) that stops the fire? Burning is a means to accomplish that, and a very good one, but the same thing would occur if the gap were produced by any other means, whether it’s deliberate woodcutting or the presence of a barren rocky stream bed or dissolving with acid or Hermione Granger using the Evanesco spell.

People use this expression to justify trying to retaliate or to outdo someone else in the exact same type of behavior. It is especially popular as a line in movies where the hapless, sympathetic underdogs are going to challenge the insufferably arrogant champions and beat them at their game. And this is nothing like creating a firebreak.

The dubious item in my list was actually this one:

All things come to those who wait.
—They don’t, and that is not what the Bible verse says.

After writing that, I went looking for the exact quote, which I thought I had in my head but was unable to confirm no matter which way I came at it. By then it was too late to edit. So there stands a clear case of my not knowing what I was talking about.

Val123's avatar

A watched pot never boils. It’s true, too.

YARNLADY's avatar

@mrentropy I’m going to go all serious on you, here in Sacramento, the warning ‘still water runs deep’ means even if the surface of the river looks still, beware the undercurrent, which kills several people every year.

Indeed, the water looks like a reflecting pond, with little or no movement visible.

mrentropy's avatar

@YARNLADY I’d be willing to concede that it looks still from the surface. I won’t even argue the point :)

But it’s not still if it has any kind of current. In this case, though, I’m willing to see where it would be a fair warning.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Val123 Not true, I stared really hard at a pot while heating it, and saw the moment the water came to a boil. :-)

Val123's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I’ve actually done that very thing too….while wondering if this means I had absolutely no life!!

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Val123 I was wondering if it meant that I was nuts. :)

Val123's avatar

@Dr_Dredd No! Of course not! It was….an….intellectual experiment in….um…physics. Yes. Physics

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